Claudia Ann Merrill
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Age at the time of arrest: 61
Date of sentencing: 2020
Claudia Ann Merrill, of Farmington Michigan, is carrying out a prison sentence of 41 months in December 2020 and ordered to pay $1,755, 412.79 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In January of 2020 she pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and agreed to pay a criminal forfeiture money judgement of $1, 775, 271.61.
Throughout January 1, 2014, to October 1, 2019, Merrill carried out a scheme to defraud the VA and the elderly veterans and their spouses. She approached elderly veterans and surviving spouses and told them they were eligible for VA benefits. She then offered to fill out applications for them, and then persuaded them into signing blank application forms and provide identification documents. She then submitted false applications for Veteran’s Pension and Aid and Attendance benefits in the names of the beneficiaries. She would also alter medical records so that the beneficiaries would appear to be eligible for the benefits. Merrill fraudulently directed benefit payments into bank accounts she controlled and failed to inform the beneficiaries. The veterans or their surviving spouses reached out to the VA to inquire about their benefits, she would end contact with them. She went as far as suing one veteran, demanding that he pay her the proceeds of the scheme. Throughout the 5-year scheme, Merrill managed to defraud the VA $1,755,412 in benefit payments.